I have one of those nice handy UPC PVR boxes that allow me to record TV shows and watch them later. Very handy considering myself and Lauren have somewhat different tastes in TV shows. Monday night was one of those nights however when I played the ultimate PVR card, "I want to watch and tape this show". In an apartment with one TV that is a very valuable card to play, you don't get too many of them, especially when the other person has little or no interest in the show. Unfortunately this time I completely wasted both the card and my time.
My mistake? Expecting a TV3 show entitled "The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail" to provide an interesting history of one of the most powerful organisations in the history of the State. A story of intrigue, backstabbing and the quest for power that runs from 1916 to the current day this could have been one of the great documentaries on Irish history. Unfortunately the actual result was a fast forward through the years 1916 to about 1998 in approximately 20 minutes. TV3 felt no need to cover irrelevant parts of Fianna Fail history like the leaders between Eamon De Valera and Charles Haughey, then skipped Albert Reynolds completely and jumped to Bertie Ahern. The structure of Fianna Fail was just briefly mentioned, apparently TV3's research team concluded Fianna Fail is just a bunch of grassroots members in Cumanns and directly above them is the Cabinet. The actual structure of the party is a little more, well, structured. Comhairle Ceantairs, Comhairle Dail Ceantairs and the Ard Comhairle are all levels above the Cumann but TV3 missed this (googling "Fianna Fail structure" and looking at the party website was clearly too much effort). Bertie and his ex-girlfriend Celia seemed to dominate the show. I can only assume there are 2 reasons for this.
First TV3 came into existence in 1998, Bertie became Taoiseach in 1997. Why pay the archives of other TV stations for access to their footage of Lemass, Lynch, Haughey or Reynolds when you can just jump into the national archives for a few clips of De Valera and then skip 70 years to your own archives for Bertie. Second, Bertie now out of politics and with very little of a political legacy to protect, was more than happy to give TV3 a long interview explaining how he is 1000% innocent of everything and to walk around the graves in Glasnevin cemetery looking pensive.
Based on the first episode this show is not "The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail". It's a three part interview with Bertie Ahern. Possibly a more correct title would be "Bertie Ahern: In his own words". TV3 only threw in some fluff about the history to suck in people who are sick of hearing Bertie proclaim how he saw nothing, heard nothing and knew nothing.
The first episode has already been deleted from my PVR, I'm never going to watch it again and I might just wait until Tuesday to read the reviews and decide if I want to watch episode 2 on the TV3 catch up page.